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“A polished look back at area history”

Tampa Bay History Center
Ranked #20 of 196 things to do in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Experience 12,000 years of powerful stories at the Tampa Bay History Center. During your journey, you will stroll through a 1920s-era cigar store, row up the Hillsborough River, ride along with a cattle drive and learn about the early exploration of Florida. This waterfront building, with an eclectic Museum Store and the signature Columbia Cafe, is a memorable experience for families, history enthusiasts, Tampa area natives and beyond.
Level Contributor
145 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“A polished look back at area history”
Reviewed August 8, 2011

The Tampa Bay History Center is a top-notch facility providing a broad, if not in depth, view of area historical highlights. Very engaging exhibits and production make this faciility both educational and entertaining. From early explorers to area sports memorabilia there is bit of something to interest everyone interested in Tampa Bay's past. Even the Columbia cafe at the museum is a cut above the standard museum snack fare and gives a taste of old Ybor. Went in expecting to spend an hour or two and spent four. Definitely worth a look.

Visited August 2011
Thank Bullzfanzclan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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441 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • Any
English first
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
255 reviews
117 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“extensive exhibits, wish we had more time to visit”
Reviewed August 4, 2011

There were more exhibits than I expected, including several AV presentations. The exhibits were high-quality and informative. The Columbia resaurant on-site would have been a nice companion experience. We'll have to allot a couple of hours next time.

Visited June 2011
1 Thank micchio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A historical journey with a modern twist”
Reviewed July 28, 2011

The Tampa Bay History Center is housed in an awesome building in downtown Tampa. While history museums might conjure up visions of rooms of old stuff, this history center has incorporated a lot of technology to make the experience interactive and fun for every age. I enjoyed learning about the cigar factories, but really loved the agriculture exhibits and the history of sports in the Tampa Bay area. The museum flows well, so there is little confusion about which way to go and no worries that you will miss something. The museum is the perfect size so that it can be completed in an afternoon and kids won't get overwhelmed or bored. I have not eaten at the small-scale Columbia Restaurant, but have heard it is a great part of the museum visit.

Visited March 2011
2 Thank booe1104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
69 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Who Knew Lil' Ol' Tampa had so much History!”
Reviewed June 25, 2011

This was an excellent museum. Artfully and creatively presented in a variety of mediums. The short movies were great. Tampa history from the Indians, Cigar City, military involvement, and even the "cracker" and produce industries were shown. If you're into sports, the third floor has an interesting exhibit on Tampa area sports. There was a lot to learn about the area and its past - and I must say I am really proud to be from Tampa. This little city has packed a lot into 500 years!

Visited June 2011
Thank AdventureEveryday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fullerton, Ca, USA
Level Contributor
498 reviews
222 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 205 helpful votes
“Excellent small, local museum”
Reviewed June 22, 2011

When I wrote this review, there were 5 other reviews of this attraction on Tripadvisor, of which 4 were very positive and one entitled "little to see", which was relatively negative. In my opinion, I must say that this is one the best "small. local" museums that we have ever been to. Yes, we have been to the Prado, The Hermitage, British Museum, Uffizi Gallery, Smithsonian, Louvre, The Vatican Museum, etc. - and compared to those, this museum is indeed, not in the same class. But it does not aspire to be in that class. What it exhibits, it does extremely well. It covers everything from Native Americans - with two separate interesting and well done video/audio shows - to displays and store re-creations emphasizing the importance of cigar making in the Tampa economy - to sports legends, cowboy roundups and even the vital shipping industry. The museum features many interactive exhibits, theaters, a map gallery and a museum store, We also enjoyed some drinks after the visit at the adjacent Columbia Cafe. The permanent exhibits explore approximately 500 years of recorded history and 12,000 years of human habitation in this region. I feel that it is very well done and worth the visit if you are in the area and would like to learn more about the local history of Tampa and central Florida. I would have loved to have had our Grandson with us for this museum.

Visited June 2011
Thank JackR46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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